What Is a Sportsbook?

A sportsbook is a place that accepts wagers on sporting events. It is often at the heart of a broader gambling service that offers a full racebook, casino, and live gaming. Its specialized focus on sports makes it an ideal choice for people who want to bet on their favorite teams or individual players.

To make money, sportsbooks charge a commission on losing bets, known as the vig or juice. This is a standard 10% but can be higher or lower at discount sportsbooks. The remaining balance is used to pay the punters that win their bets. This is how sportsbooks ensure a profit regardless of the outcome of the event.

In addition to vig, sportsbooks also collect other fees to cover operating costs and provide customer support. These fees can be as high as 15% of the total bet amount, but a sportsbook’s reputation will determine how much they are willing to charge. This is why it is important to find a good sportsbook with reliable data and partnerships with major leagues and data companies.

Running a sportsbook requires careful planning and consideration of several factors, including legal requirements and licensing. The process can include filling out applications, supplying financial information, and conducting background checks. A sportsbook must comply with all regulations to operate legally. For instance, the Wire Act of 1961 outlaws interstate gambling, so a sportsbook that operates in multiple states must use geolocation services to verify that bettors are within state lines.